The Late Otha Lee Cook-Smith, III

Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence
Oklahoma Mentor Day

The Late Otha Lee Cook-Smith, III

Pocket Player Mentors, A Pocket Full of Hope, Tulsa

A Pocket Full Of Hope has selected the late Otha Lee Cook-Smith III as its Mentor of the Year. Smith, who mentored two years for Pocket Players, passed away in September at the age of 20.

“Our hearts were so heavy when we learned of the untimely passing of one of our Pocket Mentors, Otha Smith,” said Dr. Lester Shaw, program director. “Otha always came in the Pocket doors with a smile and a hug. He worked so hard and was always first to volunteer when needed. He never left without first saying the words, ‘I love y'all!’"

Smith, the son of Zetta and Otha Cook Sr., attended KIPP preparatory school, Booker T. Washington High School and Tulsa Community College. His dream was to become a professional photographer. 

In addition to mentoring for A Pocket Full Of Hope, Smith volunteered for Burnt Cabin Christian Camp, Boy Scouts and many other organizations. He was a dedicated Pocket member and mentor, Shaw said.

“He made our Pocket family whole, and a piece of us will always be missing with his loss,” Shaw said. “He gave so much in his young life, and he was taken too fast and too soon. We will always love Otha, and even though his work on earth is through, we will honor his memory in the work that we will continue to do.”

About the Program: Pocket Player Mentorsa program of A Pocket Full of Hope, is designed to help youth develop life-skills and learning using music, theater and dance. From its founding in 2000, it has served thousands of youths from 7 to 12 years of age in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Osage County.